Our world is in transition. The current COVID-19 situation has significantly changed our society and caused a rise in unemployment and layoffs. Simultaneously, new entrepreneurs are urgently needed to address the big societal challenges of our time, create more jobs for the future and to lead the existing companies as the current generation of entrepreneurs in Finland is aging. However, there are still many limited attitudes towards entrepreneurship that affect our thoughts about who entrepreneurship is for and what it entails – and who considers themselves as potential entrepreneurs. That’s where I Started This jumps in.
76 percent of Finns believe that if the attitude towards entrepreneurship in our country was more positive, the whole society would benefit from it. Nevertheless, Finland already ranks very well on global entrepreneurship and business research: on 12th place in GEDI’s Global Entrepreneurship Index and 11th on the Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum. Finland is praised for example for its stability, digital infrastructure, financial system and institutions.
We agree that Finland is one of the best places in the world to be an entrepreneur but we, like 76 percent of our fellow-Finns, believe that we could do better. As the research shows, the public institutions, infrastructure and entrepreneurial organizations are already well in place, so maybe the solution to a more positive attitude towards entrepreneurship could be found from somewhere else? We recognized three challenges for the Finnish entrepreneurial field that we wanted to tackle:
🤔 Outdated and distorted stereotypes of what entrepreneurship really is in 2020
❌ Lack of diverse role models in business
🔍 Biased and limiting thoughts about whom entrepreneurship is for
That’s why I Started This campaign was created. I Started This challenges these stereotypes, updates the entrepreneurship discussion to the present day and encourages everyone to consider entrepreneurship regardless of their background and starting point. I Started This showcases 26 entrepreneurs who share their honest stories about why they became entrepreneurs, what they have learned during those years and what is still driving them forward. Together they break entrepreneurial myths and paint an interesting picture of what kind of people entrepreneurs are and what are their views on entrepreneurship. I really recommend you to take time to read these stories.
The significance of having role models who look like you and you can identify with, cannot be stressed enough. In order for Finnish entrepreneurship field to attract the best Finnish and international talents in the future, it is time for us to challenge the stereotypes around entrepreneurship as well as our own biases.
In order to cover the aspects of entrepreneurship and diversity as widely as possible and to truly challenge the entrepreneurial myths, the campaign needs your help – whether you are a new entrepreneur or a veteran. Tell your story about entrepreneurship with the hashtag #IStartedThis.
I Started This emphasizes the fact that anyone can be an entrepreneur. We already have everything to be successful in us. Like Dakota Robin, one of the entrepreneurs, put it:
“Everyone who’s having doubts about whether to start a business, I want to say that there’s never a perfect time to start. Do it now. The longer you wait, the longer you give time for your brain to build prejudices and self-doubt. Stop letting the old you talk you out of who you are becoming. We all doubt ourselves and that’s normal. No one has it all figured out.”
Entrepreneurship has never attracted me as badly as during this campaign process. I hope it inspires you too!
Head of Comms & Marketing at Inklusiiv & Project Head of I Started This campaign